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Two year-round elementary schools in Herriman could return to traditional nine-month calendars this fall.

But Jordan School District officials say the change at Butterfield Canyon Elementary and Herriman Elementary would be short-lived, as population growth in the district probably will require a return to year-round schooling after two years.

"Those are still areas of growth — high growth," district spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf said. "But we've had a shift in population there."

The proposal has split parents of students who attend those schools and local educators.

Nearly 80 percent of teachers support sticking with the year-round schedule, while 70 percent of parents would prefer a temporary switch to a traditional September-May format.

Audra Armstrong, a Herriman parent whose son attends Butterfield Canyon, said she preferred the year-round schedule when both of her children were in elementary school.

But now that her daughter has moved on to junior high, Armstrong said it's difficult to coordinate two different academic calendars.

"It really makes life kind of inconvenient trying to juggle schedules," she said.

Last fall, Jordan School District opened Blackridge Elementary, which drew students from Herriman Elementary and Butterfield Canyon Elementary, easing crowding at both schools.

While the district owns several parcels of land, Blackridge Elementary was the last school planned for construction in a district that has struggled to keep pace with population growth.

Currently, 22 of the district's 34 elementary schools operate on a year-round schedule, Riesgraf said. The school district is the fourth-largest in the state with roughly 53,000 students.

In 2013, voters struck down a bond proposal that would have raised roughly $500 million for new schools and school repairs.

But district officials have warned that, without funds for new construction, a number of unpopular strategies, including year-round schooling and portable classrooms, will continue to maximize school capacity.

"We have more year-round schools than anybody in the state, and with that in mind, the [Jordan] Board of Education always said whenever possible, we will return schools to a traditional calendar," Riesgraf said.

Armstrong said most of the parents she's talked to about the survey prefer a traditional schedule. Families prefer a uniform calendar and long summer breaks, she said, and there's a concern that interrupting classes throughout the year can be inefficient.

A temporary switch could be disruptive to educators and administrators, she said, but most parents think the immediate benefits outweigh the future hassle of switching back to year-round schooling.

"Honestly, I'm OK with it, because once it affects me, my son will be in junior high," she said.

Riesgraf said closing one school during the summer would save the district roughly $100,000 per year. But the decision to change the schedule is not intended as a cost-saving measure.

"It's not about cost," she said. "It really is about convenience."

Members of the Jordan Board of Education were presented with the online survey results last week, but did not take any action. Riesgraf said the earliest a decision could be made would be during the upcoming board meeting on Jan. 27.

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